Read This When You Can’t Think of What to Write About

3 journal prompts to help you decide kickass article topics.

Read This When You Can’t Think of What to Write About
Image: Author

3 journal prompts to help you decide kickass article topics.

I want to be a writer, but where shall I start? How do I decide what topics to write about?

If you have ever struggled with questions like these, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Every beginner writer I talk to asks me the same. In fact, these were the same questions I struggled with in 2014 when I started on Quora.

In this post, I want to share three journaling prompts that helped me.

I often share them with my students, and I am sure they will help you generate ideas for what to write about.

Are you ready for this idea generation exercise? Get a pen and paper (the NOTES app on your phone will be enough), and you’re all set.

Before we begin, if you’d like to watch a more candid version in video format, here you go.

Three Journal Propmts for Idea Generation

The most important thing you need to keep this in mind for this journaling exercise is that there’s no right or wrong way to answer these questions.

Some writers can think of 10 or more answers to each question in less than 10 minutes, while others struggle for several minutes to write a single answer. Remember, your journey won’t be the same as others, and if you can’t think of any answers now, it’s okay to pause for a while.

Take a deep breath, clear your head of all expectations, and think carefully before you write anything down. Along with generating ideas for your next article, this can be an interesting self-awareness exercise as well. Don’t pressure yourself into thinking something cool immediately.

Alright, enough with the introduction. Are you ready to set the idea muscles in your brain working? Here we go!

1. What is something your friends come to you for advice​?

When your friends keep asking your opinion on a topic, it means they trust your take on it. They consider you an expert, even though you might have never considered something like that.

If so, this is a pretty amazing topic to start writing about.

For example, my friends come to me with questions related to relationships, writing, and book recommendations. If you take a look at the initial articles I wrote on Medium, these were the recurring themes on my profile.

2. If you had to give a 30-minute speech with zero preparation, what’s a topic you’ll choose?

Not a small speech, but a proper talk in front of an auditorium full of 200 people. You wouldn’t want to embarrass yourself, so choose a topic carefully — one that you can go on and on about without needing to make notes.

This means you are super passionate about this topic and have enough knowledge to start an impromptu speech. You should definitely write about it!

For me, this is Harry Potter, reading fantasy fiction, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I don’t write as much about these topics as I used to, but they helped me kickstart my writing career on Quora way back in 2014.

3. What are 3 things/topics you often search on YouTube?

If your YouTube search history shows a few topics you keep searching for over and over again, it means you are keen to learn about them. It’s always a great idea to write about something you’re interested in learning yourself.

Did these journal prompts help?

If you use any of these prompts to write your next Medium post, make sure to tag me when you publish. I’d love to read what amazing stories you come up with!​

But What If No One Likes to Read What I Wrote?

The next step where most new writers fumble is crippling self doubt. In other words, what if no one else is interested in these topics?

How would you know the answer to this?

Well, you don’t.

That’s right. As a new writer, you have no way of knowing what your audience will want to read or what topics they would be interested in learning more about.

But you know what you are interested in. As a writer, you can choose your own niche. That’s one of the most liberating freedoms that you get of being a new writer because you don’t have a niche or an established audience.

You can pick whatever topic you want. When it comes to finding out what the audience likes, we’ll get to that later. But before that, you have to publish at least 100 articles. And in this 100 articles, you can talk about whatever topic you want to write about.

Once the 100 articles are done, you can go back to your stats, sort your articles by the most views, and start analyzing the top 20 articles.

What is common between them?

Maybe it’s the title, the structure and formatting, or maybe all of them are of one particular topic.

If so, then congratulations, my writer friend, you have found your niche!

You don’t make assumptions about what your reader likes or dislikes. You put in the work, analyze the stats, and make informed decisions rather than shooting in the dark.

Closing Thoughts

I know this is a rather unconventional take, but it has worked for me. It hasalso created magical results for the 50+ writers I have worked with.

Are you excited to try out the idea generation exercise? Do you have the patience to not let self-doubt stop you, and write at least 100 articles before limiting yourself to a particular niche?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

I’ve made a FREE 5-day course on how to be a highly paid writer to help people who are just starting out. Join here and be a part of this amazing journey towards financial freedom.

Buy me a book to support my work.

Follow my YouTube channel for more tips on how to design the life of your dreams as a writer.